rebuilding AFTER tank crashed

Discussion in 'Reef Aquarium Discussion' started by Neptune 555, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. Neptune 555

    Neptune 555 Active Member

    Aug 7, 2016
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    I am trying to rebuild my 3 foot 48 gallon reef w/ 50 pounds LR 20 years running. I had a power loss while on vacation last week and my tank sitters decided NOT to call me. YES we have a generator etc. anyway...

    I have done 2 water changes of 20 ish gallons each. I have removed all dead fish / BTA's / Xenia / More Xenia / mushrooms. Obviously I could not get all of the dead Xenia / mushrooms from the rocks... b/c they are so hard to pull off especially if tiny. It has been over a week with power back and tank running BUT my ammonia still reads toxic from the ammonia alert badge. What else do I need to do so the tank will cycle??

    I pulled LR from my other reef to help seed the good bacteria? Still toxic on ammonia? How long will this last? Is this normal?

  2. EmdeReef

    EmdeReef Valuable Member R2R Supporter Reef Squad R2R Excellence Award

    Dec 2, 2017
    Likes Received:
    New York, NY
    I’m sorry for your loss. Unfortunately, most of us have been there.

    It’s normal for the biofilter to degrade after something like this. If you leave the tank for a while it will balance itself but it will be arguably faster with bacteria. I would start dosing bacteria ASAP. Remove any dead matter you see, make sure to have good strong flow, and you may also want to replace your sand which will help getting rid of detritus and speed up cycling.

    overall, with bacteria, you should be cycled in a week or two.
  3. saf1

    saf1 Valuable Member R2R Supporter

    Jan 15, 2018
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    I had something similar with my 100 gallon years ago. Like you, I removed all dead matter I could reach off the rocks, corals, and of course cleanup crew and fish. Only thing that was left was the sandbed and rocks. I made some emergency saltwater using tap water, over dechlorinated it, and let the tank sit for a week before testing. I seem to recall about two weeks. I started to notice creatures in the sand start to move to the rocks, a few green button polyps start to show again, few zoanthids, and tests showed ammonia to nitrite cycle complete. Pretty sure my initial water change was 100% though - not that it matters but most of my deep sandbed was still alive while the rest of the tank crashed and burned.
    Neptune 555 likes this.
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